Advancements in Urban Development: Rejuvenating Spaces, Ensuring Safety, and Embracing Sustainability

Updates and information from the construction and civil engineering market

Museum development

The Museum of London, currently at London Wall in east London, is moving to West Smithfield, a conservation area in central London, where it will take over the currently derelict market buildings at the western end of Smithfield.

Dyer & Butler, a part of M Group Services, has been appointed by The City of London Corporation to deliver strengthening works to the Snowhill tunnel (rail) lids that run directly under Smithfield Market. The work is being undertaken alongside the £337m development of the new Museum of London site at West Smithfield.

Dyer & Butler will deliver a programme of works that will include: extensive temporary works to support the market building whilst the foundations are transferred to the new tunnel lids, reduction of the depth of structure to form the new museum structural deck, removal of overburden upon the existing tunnel lid jack arches, PCC structures, dismantling of historic façade, installation of strengthening steelwork and steelwork design in the tunnel vaults as enabling works for Network Rail’s installation of new Road Rail Access Points (RRAP), highways improvements and waterproofing.

Full support

Drainage engineers from Lanes Group plc have supported the creation of the NHS Louisa Jordan Hospital at the Scottish Events Campus (SEC) to treat patients, if necessary, during the Coronavirus pandemic.

Construction teams worked alongside more than 150 NHS Scotland clinical and operational staff to prepare the hospital. Initially, it will have capacity for 300 patients, though this can be expanded to more than 1000 patients.

Lanes was commissioned by GRAHAM, one of four principal contractors working on the project, to carry out CCTV drainage surveys and clean sewers around the site in Glasgow. The company has also delivered similar services to support the opening of the 250-bed Rainbow Hospital Deeside, an emergency hospital set up in Deeside Leisure Centre on behalf of NHS Wales.

Lanes deployed a jet vac tanker and a CCTV drainage survey unit to the site for four days over the Easter bank holiday weekend to carry out the drainage survey and sewer cleaning work required on the site.

NHS Louisa Jordan was completed on 20th April 2020 thanks to the combined efforts of 400 personnel.

Get some space

Essential social distancing measures implemented to mitigate the effects of COVID-19 have highlighted the critical importance of quality green spaces within housing developments. This is according to independent ecology consultancy Ecological Planning & Research Ltd (EPR).

As Ben Kite, Managing Director of EPR, explained: “The limitations imposed by COVID-19 lockdown have brought to the forefront the need to be clever about improving access and creating pockets of greenspace to protect our wellbeing, and that of the wildlife we are welcoming back to our streets, parks, and gardens.

“Revising Local Plans to place greater emphasis on the provision of green and blue infrastructure, sustainable travel, and high-quality open spaces will not be easy – particularly in built-up high density areas where there is a real need to create green space – but this is no reason not to try.

“The wheels have already been set in motion for the creation and improvement of green space in England with the biodiversity net gain requirements set out in the emerging Environment Bill. The Bill will mandate for residential, commercial, and infrastructure developers to demonstrate that biodiversity has been enhanced through all new projects – but I believe that we can do more to build more resilient, greener communities by bringing green space to the top of the agenda in every new Local Plan.”

EPR has published a report ‘Building Biodiversity Net Gain into Housing’ which is available to download –

Marking the place

The Red Sea Development Company (TRSDC) has shared details of an exercise to identify the location of its overwater assets around four key islands at the destination. To optimise the protection of the rich coral habitat and the local ecology, TRSDC deployed unique techniques in the field including hi-tech survey equipment and drones for mapping the sites. The results ensure the careful integration of buildings within the existing environment.

This project will inform the positioning of villas, restaurants and hotel arrival points for two hyper-luxury hotels and one luxury hotel on Sheybarah South and Ummahat Al Shaykh islands. It marked the location of the assets in accordance with the destination’s approved Master Plan and took around three weeks to conduct.

The placing of the buoys required careful co-ordination by the teams, which included local experienced boat captains to navigate among the coral reefs, along with the TRSDC construction team. The process also required an on-boat crew handling the buoys and concrete blocks, working with the surveyors, as well as snorkelers and scuba divers, to ensure no corals were damaged in the process.

Second life

The Cradle is the first hybrid timber building in the larger region of Düsseldorf and was conceived as a pilot project for Cradle to Cradle construction in Germany, which aims to reduce carbon emissions as much as possible.

This innovative, sustainable and flexible project was designed by HPP Architects, while Drees & Sommer’s affiliate company EPEA is consulting on the Circular Engineering, Cradle to Cradle measures and use of healthy materials and documentation via Material Passports.

The core strategy for the design was based on two main objectives: to allow for the building to be widely disassembled at the end of its lifetime and to use only recyclable materials in its construction. This Cradle to Cradle prototype aims to set the standards for sustainable construction. It requires a holistic sustainable design that eventually pays off. In terms of revenue, this translates as raw materials that can be repurposed and are given a second life.

Safe ground

Ground-Guards Ltd is helping Britain’s construction industry start building again with the launch of an all-new ground protection system. As Marcus Oliver, Product Development Manager at Ground-Guards, explained: “With the construction industry counting the cost of Coronavirus and the ensuing lockdown, we’re committed to helping them get back on site as quickly – and safely – as possible. That’s one of the key reasons we’ve launched our FastCover PLUS social distancing walkways to the building and construction sector.

“The solution is cost-effective and sustainable, with the versatile matting system not only delivering a superior trip-free surface, for maximum on-site safety, but it’s also quick and easy-to-install for visible two metre social distancing implementation – a key consideration for site managers looking to re-start operations as rapidly as possible.”